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HOW TO GET THE BEST QUALITY SCREEN PRINTS and recognise poor quality images

Don’t Panic….

If you can’t quite get your head around the artwork needs for your screen printer, and you're not sure how good the quality of the design/logo you have to hand is? There’s a few tips below which can give you a helping hand to pin point the quality of logo that you have.

The Ethical T-Shirts Promise:

One thing that Ethical T-shirt Printers promise is that we will give you as much help as possible to make your design/logo be of the best quality to give you a superior print. With years of experience in the production of screen printing artwork we hate to see a poor print job, so we will try our up most to ensure your design is the best it will be.

IT’S ALL ABOUT RESOLUTION - Lets cover the basics:

One of the most important things for screen printing t-shirts and various other garments is to make sure the artwork is of the highest possible quality. Ethical Tees have experienced over the years that most clubs and sometimes businesses don’t always have or can’t tell if their design is or isn’t high resolution or vectored artwork. Therefore we’ve given a few tips to help you recognise what artwork quality you have. It can be a complex topic, so we’ll try to keep it as simple as possible without going to technical ( we’re not all graphic designers after all )!

HIGH resolution vs LOW resolution?

High Resolution

Low Resolution

300dpi Resolution

96dpi Resolution

About image resolution:


Windows and Mac OS do a great job of smoothing out low resolution edges in preview. Trouble is it’s fooling us into thinking the image is higher resolution than it really is. Once we take your design and open it in a graphics program such as CorelDraw or Adobe Photoshop your going to notice the lack of quality much more. Your computer screen smooth’s everything to give you a nice clear image whilst using the Internet.

Image resolution is all about the ‘dpi’ (dots per inch). You will see the difference in the images above. One is 300 dpi the other 96 dpi. Both images have been zoomed in from the image below:

What resolution for what application?

Enlarging your image from a smaller or low resolution image:

Now this is where it get tricky.

Let’s say you have an image from the Internet. You know it’s going to be only 72 or 96 dpi as it’s from the web. So you think, ‘that’s OK’ I’ll take it into Photoshop and make it 300 dpi. Good thought but it’s not really the way to go! Photoshop or any other graphics software will take the original data from the low resolution graphic and try to fill in the gaps. So you will end with blurred edges and pixel distortion, see below image:

96 dpi enlarged to 300 dpi giving a blurred look.

So what is the best practice when starting you design?

When using Photoshop or any pixel based software it’s best to start with a higher resolution when it comes to T-shirt designs . Normally when you start a new page in Photoshop the page is set to the default of 72 dpi, however you can change these settings to whatever you like.

Start by setting your resolution to a minimum of 300 dpi and make you page size to the approximate size you would like your design to be. By doing this you have now set up you image to create a rich sharp high resolution image. Remember by starting with a higher resolution, you can reduce your image size without loosing any quality. ‘All ways start with a bigger image’!

If you were to start your design with a page set up in a lower resolution, when it comes to enlarge you tee shirt design you will get the above image effect. Your graphic edges will start to blur and wont be as clear. So try to always start with the larges design you can, this way you have done all the hard work and simple reductions for a smaller design are so easy!